Over the years I have been very critical of Pixel phones. Despite me basically owning (or had owned) literally every Pixel…scratch that, Google phone going back as far as the Nexus 5, I just always felt that Google has yet to put their best foot forward. And this year I was preparing myself for a major disappointment after rumors of the Pixel 5 being not a high-end flagship phone yet again. But as I continue to revisit this topic I think this may be to the benefit to Google and I will explain.
2020 will go down as the year of “the Coronavirus”. A year that looked so promising for tech kicking off with two folding phones, a new Galaxy, and the promise of more flagship-level devices. But for many of us COVID 19 has turned our worlds upside down. Companies were forced to shut their doors, people placed on lockdown, and employees left jobless. The focus quickly went from consumer mode to survivor mode. And this could not have come at a worse time for tech companies. Because they were on this trend of bigger better phones at a beefier price.
With people in survivor mode, $1000 smartphones are going to be the least on their minds. Samsung luckily got the S20 in just before COVID hit, but other companies, like One Plus, found themselves releasing in the middle of this Pandemic and hoping for the best. This is where I feel Google may actually benefit from releasing a cheaper phone.
If you are in the market to update your Pixel 3, it will be easier to jump on the Pixel 5 if the price range is not teetering on the thousand-dollar mark. And though Google’s intention to release a cheaper Pixel 5 had nothing to do with them predicting this would be the year of an economic slowdown, they may be in a position to take full advantage of it. Especially if they manage to release a 5G phone that can go toe to toe with the Note, S20, and latest iPhone release at a much COVID-friendly price.
As many states are opening back up and economists hoping for a full economic recovery, there still lies the fact that until consumers feel safe to come back out and we are able to get back to normal, the economy will not be able to fully recover. And with COVID 19 affecting the global economy, that leaves industries caught square in the middle of this recovery. Plus one would have to think with a global shutdown that left many countries on lockdown, production may have halted resulting in possible delays in manufacturing and shipments. Meaning the annual Fall release of big-ticket phones could take on a whole different look this year. And this could definitely be a blow for phone sales.
It wasn’t even 20 minutes after I posted this did I hear on CNBC that their was a rise in smartphone shipments over in China. According to reports, smartphone shipments rose over 17%. So the economy could rebound in time for the big Fall release. Or at least enough where people feel comfortable buying flagship phones.